Food is a natural bridge-builder and point of connection between cultures, says Jim Kane, founder of Culture Xplorers, a travel company whose signature is delving as deeply as possible into other cultures.
“There is an exciting movement afoot that is opening up new frontiers of food travel” Kane explained. “Around the world, visionary farmers, producers and chefs are changing the way we think about our relationship with food and with each other.”
“In a similar vein, there is a revolution taking place in the way food travel is being interpreted and experienced. The new frontier of food travel is physically active, intellectually engaged, emotionally connected and truly transformative. It leverages the power of food to affect positive social changes and fosters genuine bonds that endure long after the trip ends,” said Kane.
Kane recently accepted a two-year appointment to serve on the board of directors of the World Food Travel Association (WFTA).
“I am looking forward to the privilege of helping to solidify the Association’s position as the world’s leading authority on culinary tourism,” said Kane.
Founded in 2003 by Association Executive Director Erik Wolf, the WFTA’s mission is to grow and professionalize the food and drink tourism industry as the central hub that supports the creation of successful, profitable businesses and the protection and promotion of local culinary cultures world-wide.
“We’re excited to have Jim join our Board of Directors,” said Wolf. “Jim has a wide range of experience with other industry trade associations and an interesting view that he can bring to bear in his service with the World Food Travel Association.”
Kane happily shares what he sees as three developing trends in the future of food travel:
#1 Adventure Foraging: “Autumn is a great season for foraging in Cataluña, Spain, where you can easily travel from the Pyrenees to the coast in the same day. One of my favorite adventures here is to accompany a seasoned botanist — alongside plenty of local ‘boletaires’ (mushroom hunters) — on a quest for highly prized, seasonal wild mushrooms in the forested foothills of the Pyrenees. Then switch gears and kayak along the Catalan coast in search of edible seaweed and aromatic herbs.”
#2 Trekking & Terroir: “This form of connecting with the land and local producers is already in full bloom in many places around the world. One of my favorite recent experiences is shadowing a Basque shepherd on an engaging variation of his morning rounds. First we try our hand at milking one of the indigenous Latxa breed of sheep which produce the region’s famed Idiazabal cheese. We make and chill ‘cuajada’ (fresh cheese curd) and taste some of the farmhouse cheese washed down with a bottle of refreshing, txakoli (sparkling) wine. A 90-minute walk through rolling hills and pine-covered trails works back our appetite just in time for lunch! “
#3 Food for Social Change: “This is a budding movement which is particularly strong in Latin America. One of my favorite regional projects is the Pachacútec Culinary Institute (ICP) just north of Lima. Peruvian super chef Gastón Acurio partnered with the Fundación Pachacútec to create a top notch culinary school along the coastal desert in Pachacútec. It recruits students from some of Lima’s poorest communities and costs a tenth the tuition of a private institute, offering life-changing opportunities to its graduates. As part of Culture Xplorers’ unique partnership with the ICP, we bring travelers for a cooking lesson side-by-side with the students, who then share this meal with the visitors.”
Culture Xplorers (http://www.culturexplorers.com/), a leader in sustainable travel, offers handcrafted journeys that deepen understanding and foster connection between travelers and local communities around the world.
Culture Xplorers trips are created from the ground up, built on three founding pillars: people, traditions and impact. Their travelers meet the people of the places they visit, engaging in the living traditions that make each destination unique, and in doing so, create a lasting, positive impact through tourism. Genuine connections with people and place are formed farm-to-fork and around the table, via participation in local celebrations and through authentic exchange with community leaders and members.
Countries where cultural exchanges are fostered are Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Cuba. The Culture Xplorers Foundation was founded in 2007 to help foster the sustainability of local culture in at risk communities worldwide. Its positive impact partnerships focus on sustaining endangered traditions, strengthening education, fostering community-based travel and breaking the cycle of poverty through the support of comprehensive micro-loan and education programs. See: http://www.cxfoundation.org/
For 2014-2015 season information, tours, availability and reservations contact Culture Xplorers at 215-870-3585 or email: [email protected].
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